Floating in the wind (power)

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

Presented by Equinor

The Biden administration tried something new today: auctioning off plots in the Pacific for floating wind farms.

Energy developers are bidding on five leases that take up an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. The administration hopes the winning companies will develop enough offshore floating wind to generate 4.5 gigawatts of power, writes POLITICO’s E&E News reporter Heather Richards. That’s enough electricity for about 1.5 million homes.

The auction is the opening salvo in President Joe Biden’s broader plan to generate 15 GW of energy from the floating wind industry, which uses cables to moor floating turbines to the seafloor. Floating wind is more versatile than the usual fixed-bottom turbines, which are limited to depths of 165 feet.

But the technology is still in its infancy. The supply chain to develop floating wind farms isn’t ready to build at scale yet, and there are also questions about whether ports have the capacity to build the turbines and send them out to sea.

Samantha Woodworth, a senior wind research analyst for Wood Mackenzie, told Heather that floating offshore wind projects require “a little more of everything.”

The more traditional type of offshore wind — which is built on pylons fixed on the ocean floor — is already taking off. Earlier this year, developers bid a total of $4.4 billion for offshore wind development off the coast of New York and New Jersey. The administration aims to generate 30 GW of power from such offshore farms by 2030.

So how much are floating wind leases worth? As of this afternoon, the five leases had gone through multiple rounds of bidding, with asking prices for each lease topping $60 million.

The high bids for three central California plots, each more than 80,000 acres, were $75.3 million, $85 million and $100.3 million. The two leases off the coast of Eureka, Calif. — one for 63,000 acres and another for 69,000 acres — had asking prices of $62.7 million and $63.8 million, respectively.

It’s Tuesday! — Thank you for tuning into POLITICO’s Power Switch.  I’m your host, Lamar Johnson. Arianna will be back soon! Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E News and POLITICO Energy. Send your tips, comments and questions to [email protected]

Today in POLITICO Energy’s podcast: The team brings in POLITICO chief UK correspondent Charlie Cooper to talk about the European Union’s price cap on Russian oil and Russia’s response.

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GOP says no to Joe
Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) effort to get permitting changes included as part of the must-pass defense bill faced another hurdle Tuesday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he opposed the move, which is one of the few remaining avenues to pass Manchin’s proposal this year.

The permitting legislation could speed up energy projects by shortening environmental reviews, but progressives and environmental groups are opposed.

POLITICO’s Josh Siegel and Kelsey Tamborrino write that even with the public derision from some Senate Republicans, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was still talking about attaching the reform legislation to the National Defense Authorization Act in the Democratic caucus meeting Tuesday.

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The E.U. hopes the Biden administration will outline by Jan. 1 its plans to address Europe’s concerns about a new electric vehicle tax credit, writes POLITICO’s Doug Palmer.

The credit, in the Inflation Reduction Act, requires EVs to be assembled in North America to qualify for a $7,500 tax credit, eliminating many overseas models that previously qualified.

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E.U. leaders have capped the temperature of institutional buildings at 19 degrees Celsius, or about 66 degrees Fahrenheit, write POLITICO’s Eddy Wax, Nicolas Camut and Wilhelmine Preussen.

The move comes amid concerns over rising energy prices, with the backdrop of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) proposed a bill that would limit oil company profits and refund “excess” profits to consumers.

Congressional Democrats say the Commerce Department’s solar tariff ruling is a threat to the Biden administration’s clean energy goals, though they are split on their reasoning why.

The Interior Department announced plans to update an Obama-era plan that would streamline the permitting process for solar projects in Western states.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading!

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